Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Laissez-faire lord of the French Quarter
“My father warned me when I was very young to be wary of deals that seem too good to be true; so it is, I fear, with the lord of the French Quarter. In a city (or just species?) beset with sadists in positions of power who delight in beating others down, he’s made his way as the champion of underdogs, the smiling face and gently helping hand to neonates and new arrivals… myself included. His own powerful position makes these gifts trivial matters for him, but they win him all the loyalty in the world for those who have nothing or nowhere else to go. I get the feeling much of what he does for others constitute more fliers than meticulously planned investments, and that oftentimes he’s content to simply see where matters go—with the knowledge that he only needs a very few to pay off to more than justify the investments. He’s affable, polite, lenient, and knowingly and needlessly flattering. Among the living these traits would be enough on their own to make friends, but they stand out so startlingly from the rest of our kind that it makes him hard to trust him on those grounds alone: I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. All the same, I keep coming back over and over again. Is it because I have no other choice, or because he’s the only one that offers one?”
“Mr. Savoy would be a grand friend to keep, if he were not making himself an enemy of my prince. Ut nocte custodiam rati, lucem stultus.”
—George Vernon Smith
“It’s not difficult to see why Savoy has won over others. While the prince conducts himself as a dark god, or at least the dark right hand of Him, a biblical figure of power, the lord of the French Quarter demands a wholly different manner of respect: his very humbleness speaks more to his security in his strength than any heavy-handed beating handed out ever will.”
—Caroline Malveaux-Devillers’ thoughts upon their first meeting
“The self-styled ‘lord of the French Quarter’ presents himself, as do so many pretenders, as the eminently reasonable alternative to the tyrannical prince. Laying aside the question of whether or not he is genuine—many seem to believe he is—the wise should ask themselves exactly what sort of city New Orleans would become in such hands. As Robert Charles Winthrop once observed, ‘kine, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet.’ The same is all the more true of Kindred. If one were to remove the twin pillars of the ‘bayonet’ and ‘bible’ as offered by Prince Vidal, what do they believe Lord Savoy would replace them with, save anarchy and destruction? I am not convinced, and even were I not sworn to loyalty to the prince, I would find him a hard sell. If only others were so discerning.”
Savoy is a short, thin man with strong European features. His hair is dark, as is the perpetual facial hair that hovers just between a five-o’clock shadow and a true beard. He prefers casual suits or sport coats and is rarely seen without a smile on his face. When he is emotional or emphatic, the faintest trace of a French accent emerges in his voice.
Relative to Kindred such as Augusto Vidal and Pearl Chastain, Antoine Savoy is at once a newcomer to the Crescent City and one of its oldest residents. A Frenchman Embraced by Maria Pascual during the reign of Louis XIV, Savoy learned much of courtly intrigue and cultivating a grandiose image from the Sun King, and on several occasions has even insinuated that he might be one of Louis’ many bastard sons, brothers, or uncles. After his sire ran afoul of enemies in Paris—he paints it as anyone from Prince Francois Villon to Anarchs to Sabbat—Savoy was driven into torpor and spirited away by his sire to Haiti, and from there to New Orleans.
Pascual told no one of her childe’s existence, and Savoy would sleep until a portentous night in 1895 when the elder Toreador was destroyed by assailants unknown. His sire’s final death jolted Savoy out of torpor and into a vastly different world. He kept to the shadows for nearly a year, learning all he could about his new home while surreptitiously contacting Pascual’s allies. Vidal, meanwhile, investigated the former primogen’s death and deliberated who to appoint as next regent of the French Quarter.
Savoy did not give him the chance.
Ever since the Quarter developed into the tourist locale that it is tonight, Savoy has used his dominance over it to expand his influence. Engaged in a constant, bitter struggle with Prince Vidal, who refuses to recognize his legitimacy to grant territory and feeding rights, Savoy has actually used the cold war as a means of cementing his own authority. Easily able to pass as a local Creole, he plays upon the historical, racial and religious concerns of the locals. Savoy portrays himself as Catholic, but he is accepting of the precepts of Vodoun. He even incorporates Vodouisant practices into his Catholic rites, a melding uncommon but not unheard of in New Orleans. In so doing, he increases the enmity of Prince Vidal (for “polluting” the faith) and Baron Cimitière (who believes that Savoy uses Vodoun purely as a tool to gain support among its followers).
Savoy paints himself as a protector of black, Creole and Vodoun culture and Kindred. Many of Savoy’s detractors—Baron Cimitière is far from the only one—paint him as a pretender who uses these causes purely to advance his own agenda. Rumor even suggests that Savoy’s allegiance to the Lancea et Sanctum is pure show, that he joined that covenant because it conveys the image he desires, rather than for legitimate beliefs. The French Quarter and other poor districts of the city, already tense due to severe overpopulation (at least in Kindred terms), have more than once verged on open war between Savoy’s supporters and his enemies.
Savoy is remarkably open and approachable for a Kindred lord, holding an open court every Saturday to which anyone may come and speak, and also making proclamations and speeches at Elysium like a politician seeking reelection. How genuinely sincere he is is anyone’s guess, but he has gathered a sufficient number of supporters and followers to stand fast against the efforts of both Prince Vidal and Baron Cimitière to unseat him.
Antoine Savoy is regent of the French Quarter in all but name. It’s the single most valuable domain in New Orleans. Bourbon Street and the regular influx of tourists presents nothing so much as a walking buffet to the Damned: it’s the best hunting ground in the city and everyone knows it. Dozens of cultural and historic sites, revered among past-minded Kindred elders, enjoy status as Elysium. The tourism, nightlife, hospitality, and organized crime sectors provide a cash flow to rival the CBD. While Vidal might wear the Big Easy’s crown, Savoy has stolen its central jewel. This fact, more than any other, is what truly allows him to challenge Vidal for the princedom. (Domain •••••)
Under Savoy’s watch, the French Quarter has become the single most overcrowded domain in the city. While he has numerous “legitimate” vassals such as Natasha Preston and Reynaldo Gui who are welcome in Elysium, Savoy has thrown open his gates to any Kindred looking for somewhere to belong. Caitiff, thin-bloods, illegitimate childer, wanted criminals, and all manner of castoffs and riffraff from other cities have settled in the French Quarter. Only Hurricane Katrina was able to wash them out, and then only temporarily: there are always more where they come from. Before the decade was out, the Quarter was as overpopulated as ever. Savoy largely relegates these vagabond Kindred to the poorest and highest-crime regions of his domain, with frequent spillover into the Seventh Ward. Almost none of them have resided in the city since before 2005 and it’s anyone’s guess just how many of these informal “vassals” Savoy has. He seems to consider the danger they pose to the Masquerade an acceptable trade-off: even when hunters pick them off, there are always more. (Vassals •••••)
Antoine Savoy is publicly known as Leon Gresseau, a rich playboy with family roots in New Orleans who moved to the city after Hurricane Katrina. He’s a well-connected man with many friends who owns the Evergreen Plantation, a jazz club and popular hangout for assorted socialites, celebrities, and other VIPs. Unsavory rumors link him to criminal interests, but Mr. Gresseau just smiles and asks what need he has to associate with such people when the topic comes up. Savoy regularly attends mortal functions as Leon and goes to great lengths to insinuate the identity into the French Quarter’s social fabric. In many respects, it’s not very different from his Kindred self.
Antoine Savoy controls a significant number of mortal pawns in the French Quarter. Mirroring Vidal’s ties to politics and white-collar businesses, Savoy has cultivated ties to the hospitality industry, high society, and organized crime. The tourism sector all but belongs to him, and there isn’t much crime in the Quarter that he can’t get in on if he doesn’t want to. Like many elders, Savoy quietly backs the careers of mortals prominent in their fields who now owe much of their success to him. He’s repeatedly sought to displace Vidal’s control over the mayor’s office, but to date the prince’s chosen candidates have always won.
Savoy is rich. He inherited a great deal of wealth from his sire, who built her fortune during the colonial and antebellum eras from sugarcane and cotton. Come the modern nights, Savoy has re-invested much of that wealth back into the tourism and service industry sector. The French Quarter is the city’s financial artery, far more than its downtown ever has been, and Savoy drinks from it heartily through his investments and controlling interests in many tourism-related businesses. The graft, crime, and corruption endemic to the Quarter has only further swollen his coffers. While most Kindred presume that Vidal is richer than Savoy, lack of money isn’t what’s keeping him from the princedom.
In almost any other American city, Antoine Savoy would be prince. He’s an elder of a respected bloodline who controls the single most valuable territory in the city. He’s supported by dozens of followers and has cannily brokered alliances that Vidal would’ve refused to even consider. Savoy’s name rose to national prominence after Hurricane Katrina and everyone talks about how much the French Quarter lord did to help rebuild New Orleans. Everyone knows he aspires to the princedom, and while he has yet to obtain it, Vidal has ultimately failed to break his power. For good or ill, Antoine Savoy is one of the most consequential vampires in the Crescent City. (Camarilla Status •••••)
Among the Toreador, Savoy is a master in excellent standing with the Guild of Plutus. While he has demonstrated no significant artistic talent of his own, poseurs can get away with being poseurs if they’re also patrons of the arts—money always talks, especially when it’s combined with class. Savoy has bankrolled the creative endeavors of numerous clanmates and shows discerning artistic taste. He’s also turned the French Quarter into a veritable playground for his clan, and the parties he throws at the Evergreen are rarely anything but hits. (Toreador Status ••••)
Among the Lancea et Sanctum, Savoy has obtained power largely by dint of being a powerful elder who’s declared his allegiance to the covenant. This fact has brought the Sanctified dozens of converts in the French Quarter who they likely wouldn’t otherwise have. Savoy’s support from Clarice Barabet, the city’s previous bishop, did much to legitimize his standing among the Church Eternal and it was she who ordained him as one of its deacons. (Lancea et Sanctum Status ••••)
Stories Two, Four, Five, Six, Seven
Lord Savoy was the Kindred to welcome Celia Flores to her Requiem following her Embrace. She woke up (almost) literally on his lap when her sire dumped her into the Gulf shortly before sunrise, stating that he had felt her Embrace through their blood’s sympathetic connection. He introduced Celia to his seneschal and warden, and the four discussed options so far as what to do regarding her sire, apparently illicit Embrace, and the father that she had been poised to take down before her untimely death.
Almost seven years after her Embrace, Celia has been able to enjoy her Requiem in luxury thanks in no small part to the hospitality and generosity of Lord Savoy. He has granted her lush domain within the Quarter, offered a generous loan to start her business, and has generally been a doting grandsire to the young neonate. He recently bequeathed her with a more active role within his court and tasked her with turning her one-time paramour Roderick Durant into his ear within the Cabildo.
When Emmett Delacroix was offered his “heart’s desire” if he were to fulfill a bargain with a powerful new patron, he followed the whispers of the box she gave him containing his ripped-out heart. Those whispers led Lord Savoy atop the Evergreen. The lord of the French Quarter advised Em to open his box, and was a cordial host upon the newly-Embraced vampire’s return. After warning him off spreading information about the mysterious woman in the Garden District, the two discussed various ways that Em could make himself useful to the elder and their respective relationships with Ron Landreneau. He offered a few words of advice to the fledgling and set him up with a night doctor to change his appearance to something more suitable.
Shortly after Em’s Embrace, Celia brought Roderick to the Evergreen at Savoy’s behest (and in exchange for a boon the Brujah promised Savoy). Roderick insulted Savoy numerous times and was generally hostile, which Savoy laughed off with his usual genial aplomb. He later told Celia that he thought the meeting went “splendidly,” and rewarded her with a new friend. Savoy, Preston, and Celia spent a few moments discussing the details of the next part of their plan before the neonate took her leave, with plans to reconvene following his weekly party.
More to come.
• 5. Unknown sire
Maria Pascual (e. 14th century, d. late 19th century)
Fernando de León (e. 16th century, d. uncertain)
• 8. James Robertson (e. early 20th century)
Olympe de Mendoza (e. 17th century, d. early 18th century)
• 7. Antoine Savoy (e. 17th century)
• 8. Donovan (e. late 19th century)
• 9. Camilla Doriocourt (e. mid 20th century)
Félicité Duparde (e. 17th century, d. late 18th century)
Sauvole (e. early 18th century, d. mid 19th century)
Capucine Beauchene (e. mid 18th century, d. 2005)
• 10. Nicholas Ventoux (e. mid 19th century)
• 11. Annalisa Degas (e. late 20th century)
• 11. Gail Marcy (e. late 20th century)
Éléonore Boulet (e. mid 18th century, d. early 19th century)
• 7. Quentin “Quinn” Rivers (e. late 19th century)
Savoy is childe to Maria Pascual, the former regent of the French Quarter and one of the city’s Toreador primogen. She was assassinated during the 1890s by parties unknown. Pascual’s sire is unknown, but she was believed to be of the sixth generation and a great-grandchilde of Arikel.
Savoy’s eldest broodmate Fernando de León was a Spaniard Embraced by Maria Pascual long ago who fled to Haiti with their sire. He has not been heard from since the Haitian Revolution and is presumed destroyed in that conflict. Savoy’s next-eldest broodmate Olympe de Mendoza was a court favorite at Versailles who was slain by vampire hunters shortly before their sire’s flight. Savoy’s first-most junior broodmate Éléonore Boulet was a plantation owner and former ghoul to Maria Pascual who was the basis for much of her early wealth in New Orleans. He was slain in Vidal’s defense during Du Valle’s 1815 rebellion against the prince. Savoy’s youngest broodmate Quentin Rivers was a writer, social critic, and anarchist who controlled the Times-Picayune for many decades. He left the city after Hurricane Katrina to settle in Los Angeles.
It’s suspected that Pascual may have had further childer than these in Europe.
Savoy’s childe Donovan is the sheriff of New Orleans and one of the most respected (and feared) vampires in the city. Even if he does not serve his sire, he’s brought further credit to their bloodline.
It’s probable that Savoy would have Embraced far more times than he has if he and Vidal weren’t bitter foes. If he becomes prince, most Kindred expect he will take full advantage of a prince’s right to progeny.
Savoy’s nephew-in-blood James Robertson is the prince of Mobile, Alabama and remains on good terms with his uncle-in-blood. Among Savoy’s other still-unliving kin to achieve renown, Nicholas Ventoux is the keeper of Elysium in Baton Rouge.